In the new Starz' series Spartacus: Blood and Sand Lucy Lawless portrays the deceptive Lucretia and John Hannah plays her power-hungry husband Batiatus, the owners of a gladiator school. Financially falling on hard times, Batiatus buys a new slave named Spartacus hoping he will turn into a star gladiator, but Lucetia fears that he can not be tamed and will bring misfortune to both of them.

With Xena: Warrior Princess in Lucy Lawless' resume and The Mummy in John Hannah's, both actors are used to the extensive green screen that is used for the TV series. I spoke with them at the TV Critics Association about their new venture into ancient Rome.

Does this, in any way feel thematically like a homecoming, or does it feel completely different to what you were doing on Xena?

Lucy Lawless: Tonally completely different, the fighting, the technology, everything has changed so much. I don't recognize the fights at all, the way they do them is foreign to me.

This show is appealing very strongly to two very extreme sensibilities with the sex and violence.

Lucy Lawless: Do you think? I think maybe that's really fundamental to human life. Maybe we're just in denial about that, but I think it's visceral.

You and John have a scene where you are using slaves as foreplay, for lack of a better description. How do you shoot a scene like that? Do you giggle through it?

Lucy Lawless: John doesn't do anything with a straight face. The minute the camera is stopped, he's laughing. You laughed through 13 episodes, didn't you? He's a very serious actor.

John Hannah: All that stuff is really difficult, but it's as choreographed and as physically composed as the fight scenes. From an individual human level, it's kind of embarrassing and a bit strange, but to create a world which is so visceral, so real, so basic and so different from our society, our civilization, and then to get coy abut that kind of thing [seems silly]. It would just be a tragedy for the whole production to not embrace that.

Click here to read the full interview.

News submitted by Barbara Davies.